Fad Diet? Experts Take New View on Intermittent Fasting

uuuuGoing on a diet usually means that you moderately cut calories every single day, but some diets require you to drastically reduce calories just a few days of each week. Although this approach, known as intermittent fasting, was initially roundly decried by health experts as unhealthy, recent evidence shows it might not be so bad.

In fact, a growing body of research suggests that intermittent fasting works just as well as traditional dieting for people who want to lose weight, and that some people may even find it easier to stick with this fasting approach, because there are fewer days when self-discipline is needed. Some nutritionists who had previously advised against skipping meals now say they have changed their minds based on new research, and recommend intermittent fasting for some people who want to try it, Live Science has learned.

“We in the nutrition community always thought it was bad [to skip meals],” said Katherine Tallmadge, a registered dietitian and an op-ed contributor to Live Science. “But based on my experience and these studies combined, I think it’s great,” said Tallmadge, who now recommends a variation

Vegetarian and ‘healthy’ diets could be more harmful to the environment, researchers say

Contrary to recent headlines — and a talk by actor Arnold Schwarzenegger at the United Nations Paris Climate Change Conference — eating a vegetarian diet could contribute to climate change.wwwwwwwIn fact, according to new research from Carnegie Mellon University, following the USDA recommendations to consume more fruits, vegetables, dairy and seafood is more harmful to the environment because those foods have relatively high resource uses and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per calorie. Published in Environment Systems and Decisions, the study measured the changes in energy use, blue water footprint and GHG emissions associated with U.S. food consumption patterns.

“Eating lettuce is over three times worse in greenhouse gas emissions than eating bacon,” said Paul Fischbeck, professor of social and decisions sciences and engineering and public policy. “Lots of common vegetables require more resources per calorie than you would think. Eggplant, celery and cucumbers look particularly bad when compared to pork or chicken.”

Fischbeck, Michelle Tom, a Ph.D. student in civil and environmental engineering, and Chris Hendrickson, the Hamerschlag University Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, studied the food supply

5 Easy Ways To Reduce Inflammation

saladNearly everyone could improve their health by reducing the levels of inflammation in their body. Inflammation is one of the major forces behind aging and disease, yet most of us are unknowingly fuelling it through the foods we eat and the lifestyle we live. Poor diet choices, a stressful lifestyle, pollution and lack of exercise can all add up and result in chronic inflammation, pain and disease over an extended period.

The reason we want to keep inflammation low is due to the potential havoc it can cause in our body. Inflammation is associated with most diseases, including diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular, neurogenic, arthritis and macular degeneration, inflammation reduction should be a priority for most people. While inflammation may not directly cause a disease such as obesity, it is a by-product of becoming obese which may then fuel other diseases like arthritis, diabetes and heart disease.

In some situations, such as tissue repair from injury or fighting infection, low levels of temporary inflammation is a perfectly natural and healthy response to aiding our recovery. Chronic inflammation or low-grade inflammation slowly causing cell damage



Cutting out soda, sweet tea, and alcohol is one of the simplest strategies to reduce overall calories when dieting. If you follow this tip at home, simply carry it with you to any restaurant meal. Choose calorie-free options such as water (bonus: this one is usually free!) or a diet beverage. Instead of blowing your calorie bank on liquids, save indulgences for the main course.


Too often, people are hesitant to speak up about their preferences when ordering at restaurants. Never feel obligated to accept a meal other than what you originally planned. While you might have to ask for off-menu replacements, you shouldn’t settle for a meal that completely deviates from the one you planned. Take control of your meal using these simple methods:


Restaurants are pretty good at offering low-fat cooking options such as baking, roasting, or grilling, but keep in mind that simply asking for something grilled may not be enough. Despite being grilled or roasted, steaks and fish are often cooked in butter—a noticeable flavor booster, but unnoticeable calorie-booster.

Use Portion Control for Weight Control

You’re eating healthy meals and snacks and exercising regularly, so why isn’t the extra weight coming off faster? Your portion sizes might be the reason, even if your diet is healthy. Yes, you can have too much of a good thing. Monitoring your portion sizes can help you lose weight without having to monitor calories and fat. Researchers at the University of North Carolina determined that our average energy (calorie) intake increased by 571 calories since 1977 and are suggesting that larger portion sizes are the cause!

Serving Size vs. Portion Size

Serving size and portion size is not the same thing. The recommended serving size, as well as the number of servings from each food group depends on your gender, age and most importantly, your level of physical activity. A portion, on the other hand, is the amount of food you actually eat. You might be surprised to discover that your portion sizes are significantly greater (or smaller) than the serving sizes suggested for a particular food.

For example, the serving size for Haagen-Dazs Chocolate Ice Cream is half a cup, which provides 260 calories and 17 grams of fat. If you aren’t paying attention, you could easily fill a cone

Here’s What to Eat to Lower Inflammation

Ginger, nuts, fatty fish and whole grains are just some of the many foods that have been touted to have anti-inflammatory properties. But do they work?

It turns out that experts agree that eating a diet rich in such foods may in fact help lower the levels of inflammation in the body. But they stress that adding or increasing the consumption of any one food is likely not going to have a profound effect on one’s health.

In a new, small study, published this month in the Nutrition Journal, researchers found that men who consumed flaxseed for 42 days experienced a significant decrease in inflammatory markers compared with men who didn’t consume flaxseed. In another study, published in October 2011 in the journal Cancer Prevention Research, the authors found that taking ginger root extract appeared to reduce markers of colon inflammation. And, according to the results of a study published in August 2011 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, curcumin (the main compound in the spice turmeric, which is used in curry) could help suppress biological mechanisms that lead to the inflammation in diseases of the tendons.

“There is abundant evidence [that foods can help lower inflammation], and it is not as if

Tips for Cutting Sugar From the Diet

The links between sugar consumption and devastating health problems are widely publicized.

Not only is it a major player in the realm of weight gain and obesity, as well as a potential component in the onset of diabetes, but it can also be attributed to cerebral problems like memory loss and Alzheimer’s. Simply cutting out table sugar is not enough to support the change necessary to reduce these risks. It’s essential to take a deeper look at where these sugars are hidden and why we consume so much. Additionally, it’s also important to become informed about which sugar substitutes and fat loss supplements are available to help reverse some of these negative effects.

Some of the confusion in this area stems from misleading information put forth by the food industries regarding what their products really contain. Seeking information from sources outside of the packaging of your food can be vital in discerning what, in fact, sugar really is, where it comes from, and what its role is in our daily diets. It’s also crucial to take into account what effects it can have on the body and where it contributes to health problems. Furthermore, how individuals can take action in

Pressure for antibiotic cuts increasing but industry still resistant to change

The publication last month of a new report by the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, commissioned by Prime Minister David Cameron, led to further widespread media coverage of the issue of antibiotic resistance. This latest report focuses specifically on the issue of antibiotic use and overuse in farming. It found “compelling” evidence of a link between veterinary antibiotic use and resistance in human medicine, which the authors said warranted a global reduction in farm antibiotic use. Jim O’Neill, chair of the Review, commented that, “It’s time for policymakers to act on this. We need to radically reduce global use of antibiotics, and to do this we need world leaders to agree to an ambitious target to lower levels, along with restricting the use of antibiotics important to humans.”

One of the review’s most interesting findings, not widely reported, is that it discovered a clear distinction in the scientific literature between the conclusions of academic scientists and those of scientists affiliated to the government or pharmaceutical or animal-health industries. Whereas 72% of papers by academics found evidence of a link between the farm use of antibiotics and resistance in human medicine, this fell to just 26% for government/industry scientists. Furthermore, the

Fast Food May Stunt Your Child’s Academic Performance

Nutrients from quality foods are critical in helping your child reach his or her fullest potential. Unfortunately, many kids are not getting the nutrients they need, especially in the US where nearly 40 percent of children’s diets come from added sugars and unhealthy fats.1

Only 21 percent of youth aged 6-19 eat the recommended five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

This is a recipe for chronic poor health, and is a primary reason why many of today’s kids are arguably heavier and more disease-ridden than previous generations.

As of 2011, over 17 percent of American children between the ages of two and 19 were obese,2,3 and nearly six percent of youths met criteria for class 2 obesity, classified as having a BMI greater than 120 percent of the 95th percentile (or a BMI of 35).

More than two percent of children fell in the class 3 obesity category, indicating they had a BMI of 40 or greater. Such extreme obesity during youth can really set you up for a lifetime of very serious health problems.

Diseases that once appeared only in middle-age and beyond, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and even liver disease are now prevalent among our youth.

Only Half of Overweight Americans Are Serious About Weight Loss

Most overweight Americans want to lose a few pounds, but only half say they are seriously trying to do so, a new poll suggests.

In the Gallup poll, about one-third of the American adults surveyed said they weighed at least 20 lbs. (9 kilograms) more than their “ideal weight.” And among those people, 90 percent said they “would like to lose weight.”

But only 48 percent said they were “seriously trying to lose weight.”

The poll was conducted last month, and participants were asked to report their actual weight and their ideal weight. For men, the average weight was 196 lbs. (89 kg), and the average ideal weight was 183 lbs. (83 kg). For women, the average weight was 155 lbs. (70 kg), and the average ideal weight was 139 lbs. (63 kg). [The Best Way to Lose Weight Safely]

Gallup has conducted this same poll yearly for the past five years. The results from all five polls include a total of nearly 5,000 people, and show that about 18 percent of U.S. adults are at their ideal weight, while 35 percent of women and 29 percent of men are at least 20 lbs. over their ideal weight.

The combined polls also show that, although

Which States Are Eating Their Fruits and Veggies?

Despite fruits’ and vegetables’ firm place in a healthy diet — and certainly in a diet for weight loss — Americans just aren’t eating enough produce each day.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the majority of Americans aren’t getting enough fruits or vegetables into their diet on a daily basis.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that people eat three to five servings of vegetables daily, and two to four servings of fruit daily. But the CDC data show not only that just a small minority of Americans are eating the recommended amount, but also that many Americans aren’t eating fruits or vegetables even one time each day.

For comparison, Californians appear to be the least likely to skimp on fruit. Only 30.4 percent of people in the Golden State eat fruit less often than once per day.

Americans are doing a slightly better job of at least occasionally eating vegetables. People in Louisiana were most likely to eat vegetables only minimally, with 32.7 percent reporting

Tyranny–It’s What’s for Dinner

Dinner? I’m afraid we can’t serve you dinner,” the waiter at Charlie Trotter’s said starchily as we arrived at the celebrated Chicago restaurant. For 25 years, people made special trips from all over the country to brag about the dozens of courses Trotter served on his ever shifting tasting menus. But as other chefs became more celebrated, the traffic slowed, and Trotter—the first American celebrity chef to build a cult following for elaborate, very long, take-what-I-give-you meals—announced he would be closing for good.

I’d never been to Charlie Trotter’s and called the restaurant to ask when in the next six weeks or so they could possibly seat us. After a long time on hold, the man on the phone told me they could fit me in at 5:30 on a distant Friday. We booked our flight, invited Chicago friends who had likewise never been to the restaurant, landed on time, and then were stopped on the runway to wait out a freak thunderstorm—a storm that lasted two full hours, during which we anxiously texted our waiting friends to keep the table.

Keep it they did—but they also, at the restaurant’s insistence, ate their way through the eight-course tasting menu. For us, the

Organic foods: Are they safer? More nutritious?

Once found only in health food stores, organic food is now a regular feature at most supermarkets. And that’s created a bit of a dilemma in the produce aisle.

On one hand, you have a conventionally grown apple. On the other, you have one that’s organic. Both apples are firm, shiny and red. Both provide vitamins and fiber, and both are free of fat, sodium and cholesterol. Which should you choose? Get the facts before you shop.

Conventional vs. organic farming

 The word “organic” refers to the way farmers grow and process agricultural products, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products and meat. Organic farming practices are designed to encourage soil and water conservation and reduce pollution.

Farmers who grow organic produce don’t use conventional methods to fertilize and control weeds. Examples of organic farming practices include using natural fertilizers to feed soil and plants, and using crop rotation or mulch to manage weeds.

Organic or not? Check the label

 The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has established an organic certification program that requires all organic foods to meet strict government standards. These standards regulate how such foods are grown, handled and processed.

Any product labeled as organic must be USDA certified. Only

Closing the Farm-to-Table Gap in Alaska

ANCHORAGE — Across much of Alaska at this time of the year, as winter tightens its grip with darkness and cold, finding a nice crisp head of lettuce at an affordable price can be like prospecting for gold. Where the farm-to-table distance is measured in thousands of miles, the odds get long.

“Most of our produce looks like a truck ran over it,” said Susie Linford, the managing partner at Alaska Coastal Catering, a company here in the state’s largest city.

But now there is hope; the salad wars are on. Two new small start-ups, each with a starkly different vision for how to grow produce year round, under uniquely Alaskan conditions, have opened their doors.

“This town wants lettuce,” said Jason Smith, the founder of Alaska Natural Organics, as he showed a visitor through his garden inside a former dairy warehouse two miles from downtown on a recent blustery day when five-and-a-half hours of natural sunlight was all that residents in this part of the state could hope for.< /> Related Coverage

Kathy MacDonald, left, buying produce from Hillary King at a farmers’ market in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Alaska Turns to Locally Grown Food Thanks to State IncentivesAUG. 31, 2014


Slow down and think about fast food

There are so many ingredients in the strawberry flavoring of a fast-food milkshake that a list of them would be taller than the cup it comes in. You will never see that list, but author Eric Schlosser recited them during his talk Tuesday at Broome Community College. It took almost a minute to read and included some surprising and unpronounceable ingredients — one was a substance he said is used to clean oil rigs”It’s really weird,” Schlosser said of the myriad substances all mixed together to imitate the simple taste of strawberry. “It’s like something a mad scientist would come up with.”That was but one stomach-curdling detail in the talk given by the author of Fast Food Nation, who was brought in as the guest speaker and anchor for the daylong event, which focused on the politics of food. Other activities during the day included a screening of the film The Future of Food and panels on food addictions, vegan eating and diabetes. There also was a discussion by BCC professors Helen and Francis Battisti on ways to eat healthy when balancing a busy schedule. Schlosser, the keynote speaker, addressed what he considers the most pressing

How That Glass of Red Wine Might Help You Live Longer

evidence showing that resveratrol, a compound found in red wine, may play a role in preventing cell aging.The study in rodents found that when mice had a particular gene — SIRT1 — knocked out, or turned off, resveratrol had no effect on them. But tests of muscle tissue in mice with a normal SIRT1 gene that were given resveratrol found that the substance boosted mitochondrial function.Mitochondria provide the energy that cells need to function. A decrease in mitochondrial energy production has been linked to a variety of diseases, including diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as to the aging process itself, said senior study author David Sinclair, a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

But don’t go reaching for that Chianti yet. Yes, resveratrol is found in the skin of red grapes. But “the amounts we gave to our mice would be like drinking 100 glasses of red wine a day,” Sinclair said.

Instead, the goal is to develop synthetic resveratrol compounds that activate SIRT1 and could be taken as medication. “My colleagues are in the middle of developing better molecules that we hope will be medicines that will be used to treat

Good Fats, Bad Fats

The general wisdom for many years was that all fat should be avoided. Trans fat, saturated fat, unsaturated fat — just stay away from them all. But now scientists realize that fat — and how our bodies process it — is much more complex.

Our bodies need some fat for optimal functioning. But we need the right kinds of fat, and we need to practice moderation. Some fats are actually good for you, and others should be avoided at all costs. How do you know which is which?

Fats: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Alexa Schmitt, RD, a clinical nutritionist at Massachusetts General Hospital, says mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are “good fats” and that saturated fats can be consumed in moderation. Trans fats, however, should be avoided altogether, adds Schmitt, explaining that trans fats are dangerous because they raise cholesterol levels. High levels of certain kinds of cholesterol, in particular low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the so-called “bad cholesterol”) increase your risk for heart disease and other health conditions, including stroke.

So how do we know which foods contain which fats? As a general rule, Schmitt says, “fats that are liquid at room temperature, like olive oils, are a better choice than foods

Nutrition Guidelines: Getting Started

Food Groups and Healthy Nutrition: MyPlate

So how do we know what healthy meals should look like? The USDA is responsible for publishing nutritional guidelines for healthy eating based on ongoing research. Although the basics haven’t really changed, recently, there have been a few adjustments.

The major adjustment is the focus on filling half of your plate with fruits and vegetables at every meal. Women need at least seven servings of fruits and vegetables each day, while men need at least nine. “We just know there’s so much good stuff in fruits and vegetables,” including essential nutrients and fiber, says Sandra Meyerowitz, MPH, RD, a nutritionist and owner of Nutrition Works in Louisville, Ky. Carbohydrates are also an important part of a healthy diet, contrary to many popular fad diets being touted today — the key is consuming fiber-rich complex carbs like beans, whole grains, and fruit.

Food Groups and Healthy Nutrition: USDA Recommendations

Here are details about the USDA’s recommended nutritional guidelines to follow for a healthy eating plan:

  • Focus on fruits and vegetables: Fill have of your plate with fruits and vegetables at every meal.
  • Go for low-fat dairy: Consume at least three cups of low-fat or fat-free milk each day or the equivalent

Our Top 5 Essential Kitchen Tools For Healthy Eating

The key to vitality and spring-in-your-step sparkling health is really very simple. It all starts with cooking wholesome, fresh and nutritious foods. That said, putting this into practice does not always seem so simple! In our time-poor society, cooking may feel like a mammoth task to pack into your busy schedule. Studies have shown declining trends in home cooking, with a lack of time cited as a major barrier to whipping out that apron.
Furthermore, roughly one-third of Americans claim they don’t know how to cook, even if they wanted to!
These statistics have worrying implications for the health of our nation. Lower levels of home cooking are strongly associated with a higher fast food intake. After all, if you’re not eating at home, what are you eating instead? However, ‘fast food’ isn’t always time-saving and convenient as it first seems – certainly not if you factor in travel, ordering time and the financial costs. Most importantly, though, life is altogether so much easier when you feel well and energized. Every whole foods kitchen can be easily equipped with the right tools to make your own healthy ‘fast food’. Here’s our

Top 5 Essential Kitchen Tools To Entice You

That Post-Lunch Slump: Why Do I Feel So Tired After Eating?

Food is designed to energize us, right? Yet why is it that so many people feel a post-lunch slump? How often have you observed someone or even felt yourself crash after you’ve eaten a somewhat ‘healthy’ lunch? How can food, the very thing that is supposed to give us energy actually lead us to feel more lethargic? Let’s explore some of the biochemical, nutritional and emotional factors that impact whether food energises or exhausts you.


The old adage you are what you eat isn’t quite correct; instead, you are what you eat, absorb and assimilate. There are a number of factors that can affect our ability to digest and utilise the nutrients from food including stress hormones, caffeine and medications such as antibiotics to name a few. Stress is particularly important to consider when it comes to digestive function, as too many people spend their days in Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) dominance – a constant state of ‘fight or flight’, with high circulating levels of adrenaline. This can have a devastating effect on our ability to effectively produce stomach acid and thus can result in reflux, digestive discomfort or lethargy after eating. One in five